Robert Redford Quotes

1. I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?

2. It's an honor putting art above politics. Politics can be seductive in terms of things reductive to the soul.

3. It's hard to pay attention these days because of multiple affects of the information technology nowadays. You tend to develop a faster, speedier mind, but I don't think it's necessarily broader or smarter.

4. Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better.

5. Filmgoers are starved for new ideas, voices and visions.

6. I'm not a facelift person. I am what I am.

7. I don't know what your childhood was like, but we didn't have much money. We'd go to a movie on a Saturday night, then on Wednesday night my parents would walk us over to the library. It was such a big deal, to go in and get my own book.

8. Never revisit the past, that's dangerous. You know, move on.

9. As an actor and as a person you come together with being in familiar territory although that has not been my whole life. That's been a part of it. I think a lot of people associate me with the west because of Sundance.

10. Because, you know, you're in Utah. And because of its political conservatism, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

11. Generally speaking, I went through that. I came to a place where I realized what true value was. It wasn't money. Money is a means to achieving an end, but it's not the end.

12. He's meant to be that classic Homer, Ulysses, Hercules - a character who goes out or has some gift of some kind. He goes on a journey of discovery and part of that is falling into darkness - the temptations of life.

13. I am a cynical optimist. Big opening weekends are like cotton candy. The films you will remember over time are the films that stick in the consciousness of the audience in a good way.

14. Golf has become so manicured, so perfect. The greens, the fairways. I don't like golf carts. I like walking. Some clubs won't let you in unless you have a caddy and a cart.

15. I did not, like my children and people today, grow up with television as part of my life.

16. I believe in mythology. I guess I share Joseph Campbell's notion that a culture or society without mythology would die, and we're close to that.

17. I had just arrived in New York from California. I was nineteen years old and excited beyond belief. I was an art student and an acting student and behaved as most young actors did - meaning that there was no such thing as a good actor, 'cause you yourself hadn't shown up yet.

18. In fact you've got your hands tied behind your back when somebody chooses to take a low road in to you, there is nothing you can do about it, and so you just live with it and move on.

19. I'm not interested in a film about golf but I am interested in golf as a metaphor.

20. Lastly get emotionally connected to your story so you can deliver it, you know, if you can't deliver the emotions to your script there's no point to your story. Story is the key.

21. Once the festival achieved a certain level of notoriety, then people began to come here with agendas that were not the same as ours. We can't do anything about that. We can't control that.

22. Radio, newspapers, they were normal parts of my life. In those days, you had to go somewhere to watch television and leave something to see it.

23. Sundance was started as a mechanism for the discovery of new voices and new talent.

24. Sport is a wonderful metaphor for life. Of all the sports that I played - skiing, baseball, fishing - there is no greater example than golf, because you're playing against yourself and nature.

25. The technology available for film-making now is incredible, but I am a big believer that it's all in the story.

26. There is nothing I can do about this stuff and I am pretty well ok with the fact that I think Sundance is not going to be stopped by it, because the Festival is itself now, and doesn't need me out there to talk about it like I did years ago.

27. Usually I like to improvise. Sometimes, depending on the nature of the piece, I like to improvise because I think it brings certain freshness and a reality to it, as long as it doesn't go too far out of the box.

28. We program the festival, after 20 years, exactly the way we did on the first day.

29. Well first of all it's a business and it's a tough business, and you have to have the strength to survive all the set backs all the failures that make this a mean business, that's getting meaner and meaner every year in my opinion.

30. What I would do is when I was younger I would draw in a sketch book something that happened in my life and then write a little something on the side about what happened or what the story.

31. Whereas money is a means to an end for a filmmaker, to the corporate mind money is the end. Right now, I think independent film is very confused, because there's excess pressure in the marketplace for entertainment to pay off.

32. You can't completely control the sport - Tiger Woods comes close. The test is against yourself and nature's own way. I find golf a particularly good metaphor for this story.

33. We do not own this place, we are just passengers.

34. Ideas aren't real estate, they grow collectively and that knocks out the egotistical loneliness that generally infects art.

35. People have been so busy relating to how I look, it's a miracle I didn't become a self-conscious blob of protoplasm.

36. We've poisoned the air, the water, and the land. In our passion to control nature, things have gone out of control. Progress from now on has to mean something different. We're running out of resources and we are running out of time.

37. I didn't think about that because I didn't have to. We were in Canada in a very remote place and we were working there as actors. She was just Jennifer.

38. It was never going to be The Paul and Bob Show. Instead, the idea of me presenting a friend who was also a colleague to speak about what inspired him - his salad-dressing company, his racing interests, his camp for children - those were areas that I thought were worthy of attention.

39. There's going to be a lot of films in there that people are just not going to like at all. That's part of the deal. I don't think it's changed. What has changed is now, instead of 350 people there, as it was the first year, there's 40,000, 45,000.

40. Well, I mean, I guess I support any individual's ability to speak on their own behalf.

41. I think, as a matter of fact, it might back up on him. It might make him appear to be narrow and afraid of something. I don't think it will really work. I don't think it will hurt the film. I hope it doesn't.

42. Sundance is about storytelling. Storytellers can broaden our minds: engage, provoke, inspire, and ultimately, connect us.

43. What about a sequel to "Butch Cassidy?" Well the guys died in it, what is it going to be, a spiritual film? Well how about a prequel? That's pretty desperate.

44. We were at 10,000 feet in Utah and I was running out of gas. I was in boots that were leather-soled. The bear was closing in. Now, he's supposed to be playing. Once I started to run, he got really excited. Pretty soon he was chasing me. And I said if this guy gets me, his idea of play is going to be the end of me. So I threw the rifle out and got on that tree so fast. Now, once it was done, I mean, I was sweating bullets. I said, not again. Not again.

45. We could create something that was criticized in the beginning as bound to fail because it wasn't commercial. And it has worked, and I'm happy with it.

46. Because it's nonprofit, we're not obligated to put the criteria of commerciality on it. That was one of the reasons for starting it.

47. We are pleased to bring to New York the spirit of Sundance. Our collaboration with BAM is the keystone of our 25th Anniversary celebration plans during the year.

48. Neither one. It's hard for me to answer questions about "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." And also, it's such a commercial phrasing. I don't know that we've seen ourselves in that perspective. You might say "Treasure of the Sierra Madre".

49. Why do they have to mess with things that were perfect the first time around?

50. In the early years, I was standing out on the corner trying to get people to come into the theater.

51. We don't program (the festival) for commerciality. We program for diversity.

52. I
t was really a thriller. There was danger out there. The film was using the typewriter and the telephone and pencil on paper as weapons.

53. When I was a kid, nobody told me I was good-looking. I wish they had. I would've had a better time. (Esquire)

54. You'd have to be inhuman not to be flattered. But it was so obsessive so quick that some part of me didn't trust it. (Esquire)

55. The way you really find out about the performer's seriousness about the cause is how long they stay with it when the spotlight gets turned off. You see a lot of celebrities switch gears. They go from the environment to animal rights to obesity or whatever. That I don't have a lot of respect for. (Esquire)

56. There were some hairy moments. Some strange dark character was sending me gifts. They kept coming and coming…The guy was obsessed with me and Joan Baez. They had a SWAT team and infrared binoculars, and they threw us out of the house. They caught the guy, and he was insane. They put him away and he died in prison. (Esquire)

57. I have a lot of land. I bought it because I had a very strong feeling. I was in my early twenties, and I had grown up in Los Angeles and had seen that city slide off into the sea from the city I knew as a little kid. It lost its identity - suddenly there was cement everywhere and the green was gone and the air was bad - and I wanted out. I went to Utah because I didn't know anybody there. (Esquire)

58. Speed. I've always liked speed. I own a car that I shouldn't be talking about because I'm an environmentalist, but the 1955 Porsche Spyder 550 RS is the finest sports car ever made. (Esquire)

59. Man, it's a lot tougher. To really be out in nature in a pure way, without being directed, without being there as a result of some marketing plan, just to find yourself pure in nature - I made a film about this, "Jeremiah Johnson" - it is not easy.

60. Sometimes your gut doesn't work. (Esquire)

61. There was a woman who was obsessed in the sixties. She'd stalk me and stalk me. Finally they found a gun in her purse and arrested her. She was a dope addict. (Esquire)

62. I was in a small charter plane flying from Santa Fe to Santa Rosa, and the engines went out for nine minutes. You go through that checklist. Then you get down to what it's gonna feel like. What's it gonna feel like? I still wonder. (Esquire)

63. I grew up in a pretty cynical environment. All my friends gave each other a horribly bad time. We'd destroy each other with criticisms, but for me it was a sign of friendship. If someone gave me a hard time, I'd say: "Well, I guess he's my friend." I think Paul and I had that relationship. (Esquire)

64. It did come out of the films, and it did come out of the characters we played in the films. The characters - you knew they were friends because they gave each other such a hard time. We'd play tricks on each other. The more sophisticated the joke, the better. And of course, no one would ever acknowledge the joke. If I'd play a joke on Paul, I'd never hear about it. (Esquire)

65. I'll never forget meeting a kid I really liked in grammar school and going to his house to go swimming. I just couldn't conceive of a house with a swimming pool in the backyard. Did I stay his friend because of the pool or because I really liked him? I don't know. (Esquire)

66. Growing up, I was heavily into sports, and you're given these slogans: "It doesn't matter whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game." I realized that was a lie. You could be the worst-behaving character in the world. If you won, it didn't matter. (Esquire)

67. Scots ethic: Don't forgive easily. And I think that's a negative. "Ordinary People" was about that. Scots are pretty tough folks. They come from a tough land and they've got tough minds. (Esquire)

68. Life is essentially sad. Happiness is sporadic. It comes in moments and that's it. Extract the blood from every moment. (Esquire)

69. Nothing beats a margarita. It comes close in L. A., but you've got to go to New Mexico or Arizona for the right agave plant. (Esquire)

70. Speak out for what you believe and what you feel. Or don't. You have to live with yourself. (Esquire)

71. Humor. Skill. Wit. Sex appeal. That order. (Esquire)

72. Sometimes I'll look at the women on magazines in the market: They all look alike! New this, new that, top this - forget it. (Esquire)

73. The one that came the closest happened at the festival, late eighties or 1990. I was coming into the Egyptian Theatre for opening night. A guy from Tennessee had driven up with the sole intention of killing me. They found the guy next to the box office and he had a gun. He admitted it. He said: "I'm glad you got me. I was gonna kill him." (Esquire)

74. Whatever designs nature, whatever makes it work when you observe it closely, that's good enough for me. (Esquire)

75. Things don't work as well anymore. You get angry. I'm pretty blessed to be able to do a lot of things still. But there's an inevitability here. (Esquire)

76. People don't remember who the critics were. (Esquire)

77. (on his appearance in "Havana" - 1990) All everyone talked about was aging. It took me by surprise because I have not thought of myself that way. I assumed I would age naturally, as time went on.

78. As a director, I wouldn't like me as an actor. As an actor, I wouldn't like me as a director.

79. I am perhaps the best-looking grandfather around, apart from Marlon Brando, of course!

80. Some people have analysis. I have Utah.

81. (on refusing the role of Benjamin Braddock in "The Graduate" (1967), the role that made Dustin Hoffman a star seven years before Redford obtained super-star status himself) I never did look like a 21-year-old just out of college who'd never been laid.

82. (quoted by Robert Osborne, "Academy Awards 1974 Oscar Annual") I used to feel competitive about a career, but now the only things I'm really passionate about are my family, the environment and Indians.

83. I learned early that you'd better know what you're talking about. You'd better realize that certain issues are going to be so hot - no matter what reason, what logic you apply to it - you're going to be met with an opposition just because their viewpoint is different, and there's no way they're going to accept your reasoning. Furthermore, they're going to attack you because you will be portrayed as not being credible: "You're an actor. What do you know?"

84. You should prepare when you go to a public event to be public. That's when I will sign autographs. But not when you're going about your normal business.

85. I have to be human, of course, to be flattered by attention from the public. How could you not be? But it gets pretty intense when people are going after your clothes, and mobbing you in the streets, and you have to hide. That's kind of amusing, and kind of mind-boggling when it happens - you kind of go with it and have fun with it. Then it gets tiring, and then it gets worse when you realize you're being robbed of a vital part of your life, which is your privacy. And you also know what's coming your way is artificial, because those people are reacting to something they saw on the screen, not you as a person.

86. (on his relationship with Paul Newman) When we made the movies nobody used the word "chemistry". Nobody used the word "bonding". It was just: "Get up there and do your job!"

87. (on his friendship with Paul Newman) There are certain friendships that are sometimes too good and too strong to talk about.

88. I got a review when I was starting in live television. This guy Jack O'Brian called me "hammy and overwrought". Now I'm looking back on it, I'd like to hold on to those reviews. It keeps you in perspective. It really does. Part of you says: "You know, I never ever really got over that." And what I think you learn very early on is not to believe your own press clippings, one way or another, just do your work. Because you're your own tough critic. If you focus on doing the work, you'll get to a place of refinement where those reviews which are often hyped up too much to the negative or the positive fall away.

89. I've bought hundreds of acres around my home. That's why I moved here from the coast. There's plenty of room to roam and be alone with nature. That's living. The city life is merely existing.

90. I often feel I'll just opt out of this rat race and buy another hunk of Utah.

91. A lot of what acting is, is paying attention.

92. All my life I've been dogged by guilt because I feel there is this difference between the way I look and the way I feel inside.

93. (during his opening-night address at the Sundance Film Festival, claiming U.S. politicians exploited public support of invasions) We put all our concerns on hold to let the leaders lead. I think we're owed a big, massive apology.

94. (1972 comment on Paul Newman) Paul is the most generous man with whom I've ever worked. We had a fantastic rapport shooting (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)). It was one of the happiest experiences of my life.

95. (on working with Dustin Hoffman on All the President's Men - 1976)) One of the joys of the movie was working with Dustin; he has one of the most wonderful acting minds I've ever worked with.

96. They throw that word "star" at you loosely, and they take it away equally loosely. You take the responsibility for their crappy movie, that's what that means.

97. If you stay in Beverly Hills too long you become a Mercedes.

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